On Saturday I attended the Men’s Glee Club concert titled Our Victory and Pride: Singing in the Key of Michigan Since 1859. I have been to multiple concerts of the Men’s Glee Club, however, this one was by far my favorite! The concert celebrated Michigan’s composers as a part of the bicentennial celebration. And if you missed this concert, there will be another celebrating the bicentennial in the fall!
I absolutely loved all of the songs that were sung, and could definitely see the tie to Michigan in them. Some of the composers such as Kristin Kuster (composer of “given a body” and “Michigan: Unite”), Shawn Crouch (composer of “The Peace of Wild Things”), and William Brehm (“I will remember, my Michigan”) were in the audience on Saturday night. The Men’s Glee Club also sang an awesome “Motown Medley” arranged by director Eugene Rogers and JDM. My personal favorite had to have been “The Map”. “The Map” took us on a drive through the state of Michigan and highlighted some of the more popular cities. The hilarious and lovable group of The Friars also made an appearance, singing some of their songs.
The Men’s Glee Club closed their concert with the popular “Varsity and the Victors” as well as “The Yellow and Blue”, in which they invited the alumni of the Men’s Glee Club onstage. This was such a fun concert to attend and I’m looking forward to part two on November 10 and 11 at the International Male Chorus Symposium!
This Saturday, April 15, the University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club will be performing a concert titled Our Victory and Pride: Singing in the Key of Michigan Since 1859. Continuing the celebration of the bicentennial, the Men’s Glee Club will sing songs that pay tribute to, not only our wonderful state, but also the brilliant composers of Michigan. I even read that they will be premiering a new Michigan song, written by Professor Kristin Kuster.
The Men’s Glee Club Concert will take place at Hill Auditorium at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now, between $5-$20 depending on seating. For ticket information, visit: http://tickets.music.umich.edu/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=3005.
If you have ever felt the pride of being a Michigan Wolverine, being at this event magnified that feeling by 100%. True Blue! A Tribute to Michigan brought together those who share the love and passion of two colors: maize and blue. Some of the biggest celebrities were on the stage of Hill Auditorium, telling their stories of their time at the University of Michigan, and everything that they have accomplished after graduating with a U of M diploma.
There were so many amazing performances that I will do an overview. Many videos were played throughout the night including ones of the history of U of M, the Diag, the Ann Arbor squirrels (my personal favorite), U of M couples, Bo Schembechler’s “The Team” speech, U of M professors, and the alumni.
The Jazz Ensemble played a nice medley of “Michigan Through the Ages”. The Department of Musical Theatre Majors did a stunning rendition of “The Victors” that definitely made me tear up a little as I felt the pride of being a Michigan wolverine. The Department of Theatre & Drama Acting Majors performed multiple pieces such as “Catholepistemiad Rap” about the history of U of M, “Clarence Darrow and the Ossian Sweet Trial” alongside Emeritus Professor of Voice George Shirley, and “Tribute to Activism”. The Michigan Men’s Glee Club sang a chilling “Glory” from the movie Selma and “I Remember, My Michigan”. The Contemporary Directions Ensemble played multiple pieces such as “The Little Victors”, “Concerto for Two Violins”, “Back to Michigan”, and the cellists played a “Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg”.
The Friars made an appearance to sing “In the Still of the Night” as a hilarious tribute to the Engineering Arch, in which Theatre & Drama Acting majors acted out couples walking through the “arch”. The Department of Dance Troupe performed “The Little Victors”. The RFD Boys, alumni of U of M, played a “Michigan Medley”. Multiple professors spoke such as Ralph Williams, Kathleen Sienko, and also the chair of the Department of Neurosurgery Dr. Karin Muraszko. “The University” was sung by the University Chamber Choir. Shortly after, the Michigan Marching Band flooded the stage performing all of the classics: “Victors Valiant”, “The Yellow and Blue”, and “Michigan Fanfare and The Victors”.
The emcees included actors Darren Criss and Jacqueline Tobini, neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and NBC sportscaster Andrea Joyce, all of which are U of M alumni. Other famous alumni speakers included: Civil Rights activist Cecilia Munoz, mayor of Ann Arbor Christopher Taylor, sports legends Desmond Howard and Jim Harbaugh, Broadway producer
Jeffrey Seller, space explorers Afred Worder, Kiko Dontchev, Steve Walton, Mike Hess, and Hashmita Koka, Zingerman’s co-founder Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Americans Committed to World Responsibility Judy Guskin, and of course U of M’s President Dr. Mark Schlissel.
This event was absolutely extraordinary and I couldn’t be more proud to be a wolverine! Go Blue!!!
Upcoming Bicentennial events include:
June 26 & October 26: President’s Bicentennial Colloquia
On Friday, April 7th, natural light filled the Rogel Ballroom as poetry enthusiasts gathered to learn about the UM poetry scene from the 20th century to now. Because I only attended two out of the three panels of the symposium, I will only be reviewing those two: “The Middle Years” and “The Art Continues: Contemporary Michigan Poets.” This symposium intended to highlight the history of poets at the University of Michigan (not just poets from the state) and where that history has brought us.
The Middle Years panel consisted of poet and current professor Laurence Goldstein, former professor John Knott, and the illustrious multi-genre writer and funeral home director Thomas Lynch. Current professor Cody Walker introduced the panel. Goldstein began the panel by discussing the “middle” history of poets at UM from Theodore Roethke to Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. He opened with a poem by Anne Stevenson titled “Ann Arbor,” fittingly. He read mostly from his notes but clearly loves this subject and showed excitement about previous poets from here. He mused on Roethke never turning his coursework in until the very end of the semester and on Robert Hayden’s “proletarian poetry.” A notable closing quote from his portion: “You don’t have to be an English major to write great poetry.”
Next, Knott (who filled in for current poet XJ Kennedy, who originally was going to speak at the event) talked about the poetry of Roethke and Hayden as well as beginning the segue into today’s poetry scene. He read Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz” and Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays,” both hallmarked poems about their respective fathers from their childhood perspectives. He discussed them in the context in which he taught these poems: thinking about their tones and complexity of the emotions and relationships. Before Lynch stood to talk, Knott finished his discussion by honoring the Helen Zell MFA program and comparing the old poetry scene to today’s, which is now lively and full of readings. He was also excited to be there and talk about our historical poets.
Lynch’s section was mostly him telling stories relevant to the middle years of UM poetry – he started by telling a recent one about his experience at the Russian Bathhouse with other writers. While he didn’t necessarily discuss specific MI poets, his stories were highly entertaining. He also noted (several times) the importance of buying books of living poets, gesturing to the Literati vendor in the back of the ballroom. His section and this panel ended with him reading his “unfinished and failing” poem, “Heaney-esque.”
The third panel was incredible: poets Jamaal May (who filled in for Tarfia Faizullah), Airea D. Matthews (filling in for Vievee Francis), and Laura Kasischke each read from their own works. This panel was a reading, so it gave a different energy than the previous panel and was a great end to a poet-filled day. Keith Taylor, poet and current director of the Creative Writing subconcentration, introduced this panel and told stories about each of the reading panelists.
May began with some politically charged pieces and kept reading from his latest collection Big Book of Exit Strategies including pieces such as “I Have this Way of Being,” “There are Birds Here” (his famous Detroit poem, which he had memorized), “As the Saying Goes,” and “The Gun Joke.” He read a few pieces from his other collection Hum before closing with saying “I’ll never stop marvelling at the fact that people sit still while they listen to what’s in my head” and reading his poem “Now for My Last Trick.”
Matthews began her section by discussing the return to representation and pattern-making. She read from her very new and very beautiful collection, Simulacra including: “Epigraph,” “On Meeting Want for the First Time,” “From the Pocket of His Lip,” “Rebel Opera,” “Letters to My Would Be on Dolls and Repeating” (probably my favorite), “Narcissus Tweets,” and “If My Late Grandmother Were Gertrude Stein.” Her poetry was poignant and emotion/language-driven, with an amazing focus on images. Some pieces had conversation threaded throughout. She explained that the last one began as a facebook status and informed the crowd that poets can start anywhere. She’s right.
Kasischke started the last reading by bringing up Frank O’Hara, a UM poet from the middle years, and how she didn’t hear anyone else discuss his work. She read his poem “Animals” before going into some of her funny and energetic, older poems. “You can’t swing a baguette in Ann Arbor without hitting a great poet,” she mused. Because she is a Michigan native and went to UM for several years, she said “When I die, they’ll have to mix my ashes with the cement and put it in a parking structure.” As for the poems she read: “Woman Kills Sweetheart with Bowling Ball” (inspired by a newspaper article by the same title), “Praying Mantis in My Husband’s Salad,” “Something You Should Know,” “What I Learned in 9th Grade,” “Two Men & A Truck,” “Time Machine,” and “Memory.”
Each reading was incredible and I wouldn’t be surprised if the poets in the audience went home directly afterwards to write poetry inspired by what they had heard that afternoon. While the Middle Years panel taught us about older poets in more of a mini-lecture form, the third panel’s conglomerate of contemporary poetry was a great ending to the afternoon. If you’d like to learn more about poets at Michigan, consider taking Cody Walker’s English 340 course on the topic this fall semester.
Words cannot express how excited I am to review one of the biggest events at the University of Michigan! True Blue! A Tribute to Michigan brings together past and current U of M students, fans, and families to celebrate the bicentennial. Special guests include: actor James Earl Jones (aka original voice of Darth Vader!!!), neurosurgeon and media reporter Sanjay Gupta, Glee actor and my future husband Darren Criss, and Cecilia Munoz. Through music, theatre, dance, and speech, faculty, alumni, and students will come together to share the past, present, and future of the University of Michigan.
True Blue! A Tribute to Michigan will take place at Hill Auditorium on Saturday, April 8 at 7pm. Tickets are on sale online. For adult tickets: $50 main floor, $30 mezzanine, $25 balcony. For UM students: $25 main floor, no mezzanine available, $20 balcony.
Additional information can be found at: https://events.umich.edu/event/38600
Ever wondered what the poetry scene here at UM was like from the Robert Frost era to now? Didn’t know that Robert Frost taught here back in the day? Want to hear some current poets read their own work while enjoying some catered snacks? I have great news and a great event for you!
April 7th, 2017 (tomorrow) from 10am-4pm, there will be three panels: 10-11:30am – Robert Frost, the Hopwood Awards, and the History of Poetry at Michigan (discussed by Nicholas Delbanco, Paul Dimond, and Donald Sheehy) 1-2:30pm – The Middle Years (discussed by Laurence Goldstein, John Knott, and Thomas Lynch) 2:30-4pm – The Art Continues: Contemporary Michigan Poets (Tarfia Faizullah or Jamaal May, Vievee Francis, and Laura Kasischke)
This event will take place in the Union Rogel Ballroom and is part of the bicentennial celebration. See you there!*
*Due to a conflict I will be attending/reviewing only the 2nd and 3rd panels, however the 1st promises to be excellent as well.